New hires sometimes don’t pan out for many reasons, but none commands more attention than culture clash—the notion that the person was not simpatico with the employer’s culture. In retrospect, disappointed managers might say: “She just wasn’t a good fit,” “He didn’t share our values” or “The chemistry was all wrong.”
Ill-conceived matches and the subsequent rapid divorces become costly, estimated at 50 percent to 150 percent of the annual salary, according to HR consultancy Saratoga Institute. Nearly one in three newly hired employees leave voluntarily or involuntarily before the end of their first year. And this number has been increasing steadily for the last four years, according to Saratoga, a consulting service of PricewaterhouseCoopers.
But retention is only the beginning. When a mismatch drags on, as some do for years, both sides suffer. Poor cultural fit drains organizational effectiveness, kills employee morale and hampers creativity. In this special report, HR professionals, scholars and consultants discuss cultural attributes and assess the state of the art when it comes to hiring to fit the culture.
The author of this special report is a contributing editor of HR Magazine, a lawyer and a professor of management studies at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.